What's Your "Sweet Spot" for a Skill system?

Aldarc

Legend
The issue isn't that there's a check. The issue is that "make a Cooking check to avoid the bandits" seems to be to be ludicrous on its face and applying "the bandits are here now" as a consequence to a failed Cooking check turns the game situation into "make a Cooking check to avoid the bandits."
If it seems ludicrous on its face, it's probably because it is in fact a shallow and reductionistic argument to the point of absurdity that ignores a lot of the play process, principles, and other factors. Many of these games in question are proponents of beginning and ending with the fiction. Why is that step being left out to present this example in the most absurd manner possible? Because that's how these many pages of cooking and bandits have read to me. There seems to an intentional desire to frame these games as "illogical" or lacking in any in-game causality.
 

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If it seems ludicrous on its face, it's probably because it is in fact a shallow and reductionistic argument to the point of absurdity that ignores a lot of the play process, principles, and other factors. Many of these games in question are proponents of beginning and ending with the fiction. Why is that step being left out to present this example in the most absurd manner possible? Because that's how these many pages of cooking and bandits have read to me. There seems to an intentional desire to frame these games as "illogical."
Welcome to the Internet.

More seriously: The reactions of people who do not prefer this style of play to descriptions of it seem very similar to me to reactions of people who do not prefer more conventional play to descriptions of that. Serious discussions of more conventional play are routinely interrupted by mockery of it by people who prefer the sort of play in the given play example with similar ludicrous-on-the face shallow reductionism.
 
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Thourne

Hero
Welcome to the Internet.

More seriously: The reactions of people who do not prefer this style of play to descriptions of it seem very similar to me to reactions of people who to not prefer more conventional play to descriptions of that. Serious discussions of more conventional play are routinely interrupted by mockery of it by people who prefer the sort of play in the given play example with similar ludicrous-on-the face shallow reductionism.
To true.
Makes it difficult sometimes when you play both kinds of games with some folks hard on one side or the other.
 

Aldarc

Legend
Welcome to the Internet.

More seriously: The reactions of people who do not prefer this style of play to descriptions of it seem very similar to me to reactions of people who to not prefer more conventional play to descriptions of that. Serious discussions of more conventional play are routinely interrupted by mockery of it by people who prefer the sort of play in the given play example with similar ludicrous-on-the face shallow reductionism.
"Nice dodge."
 

"Nice dodge."
A touch. A palpable touch.

I've tried playing less conventional games. Maybe I'm just not smart enough to get them but I fundamentally do not like them. I have good friends who do and the play they describe seems like a string of disconnected moments with consequences keyed to maximize putative impact in ways that I personally would find the opposite of engaging in play. At the table I would find it impossible to square "I failed this cooking check" with "the bandits have appeared as a consequence." As you imply the failure there is probably entirely mine.
 

Thourne

Hero
A touch. A palpable touch.

I've tried playing less conventional games. Maybe I'm just not smart enough to get them but I fundamentally do not like them. I have good friends who do and the play they describe seems like a string of disconnected moments with consequences keyed to maximize putative impact in ways that I personally would find the opposite of engaging in play. At the table I would find it impossible to square "I failed this cooking check" with "the bandits have appeared as a consequence." As you imply the failure there is probably entirely mine.
Nothing wrong with knowing what you like and sticking to it. Heck, makes life easier and happier :) .

Problems come along, when people try to tell others that they shouldn't like it because it isn't to their liking.
 


Nothing wrong with knowing what you like and sticking to it. Heck, makes like easier and happier :) .

Problems come along, when people try to tell others that they shouldn't like it because it isn't to their liking.
So it is not that people shouldn't like it. But when some people try to explain why they might have an issue with the approach, the response is usually dogmatic denial of the validity of the criticism.

Like I have said, in game design you need to make trade offs, and it is subjective whether the trade-offs are worth it. It just gets weird when people deny that such trade-offs are happening at all.
 

Aldarc

Legend
A touch. A palpable touch.

I've tried playing less conventional games. Maybe I'm just not smart enough to get them but I fundamentally do not like them. I have good friends who do and the play they describe seems like a string of disconnected moments with consequences keyed to maximize putative impact in ways that I personally would find the opposite of engaging in play. At the table I would find it impossible to square "I failed this cooking check" with "the bandits have appeared as a consequence." As you imply the failure there is probably entirely mine.
I don't think that it's your failure, though I do think that it was important for me was to recognize that the mechanical processes for action resolution are not the same between games. It's like how rolling dice in board games don't just represent one thing across all board games. I think that this is one thing that trips people up when going from games with skills (or a lack thereof) to games with moves, actions, etc.

What's transpiring isn't necessarily the pass/failing of a singular atomic action. It may be about when the GM gets to change the game state with new fiction or add pressure to the situation based on their understanding of the fiction. That's not necessarily tied to the roll in a conventional game: IME, it's often the GM's whim that decides that the bandits come, regardless of whether any given skill check succeeds or not. The GM simply authors the fiction with little to no restrains.

That said, I don't think that these games are for everyone so it's okay to dislike them or say that they rub you the wrong way. I say this as someone who greatly enjoys playing all sorts of TTRPGs, not just the "less conventional games." In fact, I mostly play the conventional ones. However, I would appreciate it if these "less conventional" TTRPGs were represented more fairly, respectfully, and accurately here, precisely because they don't enjoy the privilege of mainstream, mass audiences that more conventional TTRPGs do.

Problems also come along when people take "This is why I don't like it" as an attack.
There are many reasons other why problems come along. Going through that list of reasons probably would likely come across as pointing fingers.

So it is not that people shouldn't like it. But when some people try to explain why they might have an issue with the approach, the response is usually dogmatic denial of the validity of the criticism.

Like I have said, in game design you need to make trade offs, and it is subjective whether the trade-offs are worth it. It just gets weird when people deny that such trade-offs are happening at all.
Trade-offs exist. The problem is when those trade-offs are framed in terms of being "illogical" or even viewing the game as inherently "dysfunctional." This sort of negatively-charged language tends to shift the issue from what trade-offs may exist in a given game system to defending the internal logic and functionality of the game.
 

pemerton

Legend
But by having the bandits' arrival be the consequence of failing the cooking check you have essentially turned it into "make a cooking check to avoid attracting attention." Part of the point of any skill check is avoiding the consequence after all.
No. It is make a Cook test to see if you succeed in your attempt to preserve rations, or rather if something happens that prevents such success.

You are reading something which is causally downstream in the fiction, and something which is causally downstream at the table, back into the motivation and purpose of the action declaration.

It is possible that, were I to leave my house unlocked, someone would let themselves in, turn on the stove, leave the stove on, and the house then catch fire and burn down. That doesn't mean my reason for locking my house when I leave it is to stop it burning down.

Conversely, if a family member is out I will leave the house unlocked even if I go to bed or am in the back room or whatever. That means it is possible that, were someone having some sort of trouble on the street, they could try my front door, find it open, and take shelter in my house. That doesn't mean my reason for leaving my house unlocked is to provide shelter to strangers.

Not every consequence, experienced or avoided, is part of the structure of reasons around an action.
 

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